Ancient Mammals Hit From Space

Space is a beautiful, mysterious place that captures the hearts and minds of scientists from around the globe.  As we begin to slowly understand the cosmos, what impact space had on the ancient world remains a complicated puzzle we still have trouble solving.

An article published on BBC offers a new view into a curious phenomenon still actively debated amongst scientists to this very day. During the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, scientists presented information claiming mammoths and other monstrous animals were hit with fragments from space. Specifically, eight mammoth tusks from Alaska and a bison skull from Siberia have pockmarks that likely couldn’t have been caused from anything on Earth.

“We think that there was probably an impact which exploded in the air that sent these particles flying into the animals,” said Richard Firestone, researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  “In the case of the bison, we know that it survived the impact because there’s new bone growth around these marks.

The remains of both creatures indicate a high-velocity projectile entered one direction after causing a serious puncture.  Shards of the projectiles – proven to be magnetic with high iron-nickel content – are unlikely to have been anything on Earth.

Even though the research sounds promising, the team needs to figure out several problems that remain unsolved at the moment.  Because of little evidence of impact craters, the team must account how animals basically on opposite parts of the planet managed to receive “similar damage.”

It is possible something collided with the Earth just 13,000 years ago, but the team found animal remains dated to more than 20,000 years of age.  The plausible theory is the older bones were sticking out of the ground, something collided with the Earth, then everything on the surface would have been hit with debris.  The research team hopes its research will help motivate collectors and museum operators re-examine their fossils.